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Department of English Language and Literature


We are looking for about 20-30 double-spaced pages of prose (which can comprise two or more shorter pieces or an excerpt from a longer work) or a portfolio of 10-20 single-spaced pages of poetry. We're not sticklers, so slightly shorter or longer samples are just fine, but please send us enough of your work to get a good sense of it without overwhelming us with pages.

The statement of purpose should be the equivalent of 1-2 single-spaced pages. In it you might describe yourself as a writer, your plans for your writing over the next few years, your reading interests, and/or your reasons for wanting to pursue an MFA here. There's no winning formula, but gimmick-based approaches usually wear thin quickly. This is also a writing sample, so attend to your sentences, but it can be quite informal. We want a sense of who you are as a writer and reader.

Yes, but admissions to fiction and poetry are considered separately. You can only be admitted to one track. While many students take a workshop in a second genre, you cannot switch tracks without reapplying and your thesis is expected to be in the genre in which you are admitted.

Please request at least two (but no more than four) letters of recommendation. Most applicants submit one or two letters from a writing professor they have studied with plus one letter from a literature or other professor familiar with their academic work. Some applicants request a letter from a writing conference workshop leader, a writer they know in some other capacity, or an employer (if relevant). It is much better to have a specific letter from someone who knows you as a writer and/or student than from a famous writer you have met only in passing. In other words, it is the content of the letter (and not the stature of the person who wrote it) that matters.

Accepted applicants are welcome to visit and (if it can be arranged) to sit in on a workshop, reading, and/or other class. We apologize that we cannot accommodate prospective applicants in this way; it would be too disruptive to our workshops to do so.

We typically email first-round acceptances by late February and send out additional acceptances on a rolling basis through April. Once the entire admissions process is complete (usually late April), our university notifies applicants who were not admitted. Like at most other MFA programs, admissions are really competitive. An unfortunate effect of our commitment to staying small and substantially funded is that we turn away many talented and deserving writers.

Yes. Applicants accepted prior to April 1 have until April 15 to commit. Those accepted later are granted additional time.

No. We only consider applications for fall admission.

First, please check to make sure your question is not answered on our website or the Graduate School's website. If it isn't, you are welcome to email MFA Director Samuel Amadon (

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.